Kimpton has been shopping itself. And they’ve fetched an impressive sum considering their size and earnings. The IHG Kimpton deal is a smaller one than what some had expected — there’s been rumors of an IHG Starwood deal, and a Wyndham IHG combination.
I wasn’t a big fan of Kimpton’s loyalty program changes announced over the summer. Nonetheless, the chain offered a personalized experience and one where they tended to go above and beyond program rules.
In general I find that the smaller hotel programs are the most rewarding. I’ve often said that it doesn’t take much effort to be loyal to Marriott or Hilton. When you turn up in a city you sort of fall into one of their hotels. It takes effort to be loyal to a Hyatt, so Hyatt’s program needs to give you a reason to do so.
Similarly, Kimpton’s program engendered real loyalty among its frequent guests. Top tier members get a free night at each new hotel the chain opens. They even get formal access to the chain’s CEO.
Nothing will happen right away. The transaction will have to close. The chains will initially be run separately. But presumably Kimpton will get folded into the IHG portfolio, and Kimpton’s members will become IHG Rewards Club members.
“I want to be an IHG Rewards Club Platinum” said no Kimpton elite member, ever. For hotel guests this isn’t really a win, although my IHG Rewards Club points did just get a little more valuable.